Professional Tile and Carpet Cleaners

Cleaning Up After A Flood

Melbourne and Geelong flood repairs

Cleaning up your home after a major flash flood or storm in Melbourne and Geelong can seem like a daunting task. It’s important to prepare and plan for how you’re going to deal with the damage and costs involved. Read the following guide and make your home livable again as soon as possible.

Safety first

Your first priority to any clean is your safety. Although your first impulse may be to immediately begin cleaning. You need to protect yourself from potential hazards. Flood waters contain a combination of rain, sewage and other contaminants washed up from your local rivers, drains and waterways. The foundation of your home may also be structurally unsafe.

  • Ensure gas is shut off at the valve before entering your home. Allow sufficient time for fumes to escape your property.
  • To avoid electrical shock, turn off the power to your home or areas affected by flood.
  • Always wear rubber boots.
  • Check the foundation of your home for settling, cracking or undermining.
  • Examine walls, floors and windows for cracks, debris and mould.
  • Call an electrician to ensure the power around your home is safe.
  • Waterproof gloves.
  • Work boots or rubber boots.
  • Safety mask or goggles.
  • Assemble an essential first aid kit for minor injuries. Disinfecting and covering cuts and wounds.
  • Wash your face and hands often with soap and drinking quality water.

Insurance claims

Before you cleaning up your property after a flood:

  • Take plenty of photos or video.
    For insurance claims and goverment support, it’s necessary to take photos and videos before you start cleaning. 
  • Keep a running record of all your cleaning expenses.
  • Check with your insurance company for other requirements you may need to make your claim.

To speed up the cleaning process contact a professional, qualified to provide work covered by your insurance instead of waiting for your insurer to provide their contractors, which could take weeks.

Cleaning and disinfecting products

When you start cleaning your property after a major storm and flood, you should have two goals in mind: to clean and to disinfect.

  • Household cleaners will aid in the removal of the majority of dirt and debris.
  • Disinfectants will help stop the growth of bacteria and disease-causing microorganisms living within in floodwaters.
  • Powdered or liquid cleaners are more practical and less expensive than aerosol products.
  • Invest in cleaners and disinfectants in the largest size available to reduce costs.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting products are not suitable for all uses.
    Before using any product, refer to the label for specific directions.

Cleaning hard surfaces such as walls, woodwork, linoleum floors and tile:

  • Household ammonia and trisodium phosphate work well on hard surfaces.
  • Liquid household cleaners will aid in the removal of mud, silt and greasy deposits.

Cleaning carpets and Fabric furniture:

  • Chlorine bleach disinfectants, used in diluted form, may be used to rinse carpets and furniture.

Cleaning textiles:

  • All-purpose detergents work well on moderately or more heavily soiled washable textiles.
  • Use a diluted solution of chlorine bleach (10 parts water to 1 part bleach) to disinfect textiles that are safe for chlorine.
  • If items made of wool or silk are damaged, consult with a professional dry cleaner.

Steps for clean-up

Your initial plan of action for the clean up process starts with removal of standing water.

Use pails or pumps, then vacuum with a wet/dry shop vacuum cleaner.

Place soaked and contaminated materials in plastic garbage bags and haul them outside. They may need to be tagged and discarded according to local regulations if they’ve been contaminated with sewage water.

Depending on the level of water damage you received, you may need to throw carpet, furniture and/or other textiles because of the level of damage.

Consulting with an expert floor and furniture cleaner if in doubt.

The next task in the cleanup process is to shovel out mud and silt before it dries.

Use a hose if necessary.

When cleaning and drying walls after a flood, be fast, thorough and safe. Walls must dry from the inside out. The interior framing of walls must be thoroughly dried.

With proper cleaning, disinfecting and refinishing, it may be possible to salvage trim and wall finishes that are made from solid wood. Most paneling will need to be discarded.

Remove interior wall finishes

  • To immediately release water and mud from wall cavities, remove interior wall finishes and insulation.
  • All wall finishes from the high water line plus any capillary rise  should be removed and discarded. If you measure, see or feel moisture, remove that portion of the wall and discard it.

Remove wall insulation

  • All insulation that has become wet MUST be removed to facilitate rapid drying.
    It should then be discarded as it will be contaminated.
  • Most insulating materials are adversely affected by water.
  • Even though plaster may survive brief water exposure, the wall cavity must be dried quickly. This helps prevent contamination and potential decay of wood framing members.

Remove mud and water quickly, then clean and disinfect

  1. Hose down your walls and floors before they dry.
  2. Rinse your walls several times.
  3. Clean and disinfect them. Start at the bottom and working upward using chlorine bleach. Never mix bleach with ammonia; as the resultant fumes are toxic.

Use a moisture meter to identify wet walls.

Wet walls and finishes can be easily identified. If you don’t have a meter, be conservative about what materials to keep. Discard anything you aren’t sure about. The moisture meter is also helpful in determining when walls are dry enough to re-insulate and close up.

Moisture meters may be available at building supply stores and through home inspectors.

Alternatively consult a professional equipped with the right tools to structurally dry and salvage your home.

To prevent mildew or mould, scrub floors and woodwork with a stiff brush within 48 hours of the flood.


Use plenty of hot water, an ammonia-free detergent and a disinfectant. Make sure to remove mud and silt from corners, cracks and crevices.

  1. Clean/scrub:
    • Scrub mildew stained floors with an alkali solution such as washing soda or tri-sodium phosphate (4-6 tablespoons to 4.5 litres of water).
    • An alternative scrub is a mixture of borax and water using the instructions on the borax label.
    • Again, do not use a product that contains ammonia.
    • Give floors a final and thorough washing using a non-sudsy cleaning product.
  2. Disinfect:
    • Rinse all surfaces with a disinfectant such as a solution of 1/2 cup chorine bleach to 4.5 litres of water.


With the right cleaning, disinfecting and refinishing, it may be possible to salvage trim and wall finishes that are made from solid wood. Most paneling will need to be discarded.

  1. Clean/scrub:
    • Scrub mildew stained woodwork with an alkali solution such as washing soda or tri-sodium phosphate (4-6 tablespoons to 4.5 litres of water).
    • An alternative scrub is a mixture of borax and water using the instructions on the borax label.
    • Again, do not use a product that contains ammonia.
  2. Disinfect:
    • Rinse all surfaces with a disinfectant such as a solution of 1/2 cup chorine bleach to 4.5 litres of water.

If stained wood remains:

  1. Remove paint or varnish with a paint remover.
  2. Apply a solution of 3 tablespoons oxalic acid dissolved in a 0.5 litres of water to the stains. Use caution, as oxalic acid is poisonous.
  3. Rinse the wood with clear water and allow to dry thoroughly.

Heat the room to 10 degrees C to facilitate drying of wood with mildew. Where necessary, apply a mildew-resistant paint. Replace badly infected wood.

Alternatively, consult a professional rapid structural drying company to ensure the process is completed and covered by your insurance.

Surface dry materials with heat and air within 24 to 48 hours

Quick drying and removal of contaminated items may help to prevent the onset of biological contamination or mold growth.

  • Continuous circulation of heated air over the wet surfaces can significantly reduce drying times.
  • Turning the heat on will help the drying process. But remember, the heating system may need to be cleaned, dried and reconditioned.
  • Use dehumidifiers to help drying.

Total drying time

The total drying time depends on the type of materials used to build the house. It also depends on the amount of air circulation and the moisture content of the air. Depending on the duration of flooding and the building materials and type of construction of the house, total drying time may take weeks or even months!

  • Dry out walls and floors. This may take several months.
  • Treat items for mildew if necessary.

Cleaning and drying your home and business after a major storm and flood should be performed by a professional as it will greatly reduce the time and cost required in repairing your home and business. 

JJs Carpet & Tile Cleaning are experienced, trained and licensed to perform insurance-covered rapid drying of homes and businesses. Equipped with industrial-grade rapid drying equipment, we are the professionals to call that will help you make your home livable again much sooner. 

JJs Carpet & Tile Cleaning provides 24-hour emergency flood repair services in Geelong, Melbourne and surrounds.

Get in touch with us today.

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